Indians take time to accept a new idea but adopt it quickly when they understand it, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said today as he recalled the resistance faced by his father when he introduced computers in the Prime Minister’s Office in the early 80s. Gandhi, while addressing supporters at a hotel here, said when his father and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi wanted to install computers in his office to replace typewriters, the staff told him that they do not want computers. “So, in Sam (Pitroda) and maybe my father’s typical style, they said fine you can keep your typewriters. But, what we are going to do is to replace them with computers for one month. And after one month we will give you your typewriters back,” Gandhi, who was in the US on a two-week tour, said.
After one month, Gandhi said, when his father gave the typewriters back, the staff started fighting for computers. “Ideas take time to travel into India. But, when an idea is good, India understands it very quickly and uses it and shows the world how it can be used,” Gandhi, 47, said. Gandhi said when he was 12, his father told him that there was a presentation and asked him to attend it. “I didn’t know what presentation meant. I thought I was going to get a present. Anyway, I went there and my sister and me were made to sit down in the back of the room quietly. And we sat there for six hours,” he said. “And Sam and my father discussed computers. I didn’t quite understand what a computer was. Nobody actually in 1982, really understood what a computer was. To me it looked like a little box with a TV screen on it.” He said he did not like the presentation as it was difficult for him to understand what they were discussing. A few years later, he said he can see the result of that presentation.